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Israeli Spy-Butterfly and Iron Dome Support Act: US may spend $680 million on Israeli missile shield


Spy-Butterfly: Israel developing insect drone for indoor surveillance

The future is here and this is not a butterfly on your wall, as Israeli drones are getting tiny. Their latest project – a butterfly-shaped drone weighing just 20 grams – the smallest in its range so far – can gather intelligence inside buildings.

The new miniscule surveillance device can take color pictures and is capable of a vertical take-off and hover flight, just like a helicopter, reports the daily Israel Hayom. Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) says this may come in handy in ground clashes, when a soldier would merely take it out of a pocket and send behind the enemy’s line.
The insect-drone, with its 0.15-gram camera and memory card, is managed remotely with a special helmet. Putting on the helmet, you find yourself in the “butterfly’s cockpit” and virtually see what the butterfly sees – in real time.
Structures under observation can be anything from train stations or airport terminals – or office buildings – to battlefields and even forests in, say, southern Lebanon, where Israel believes Hezbollah hides its ambush squads.
The virtually noiseless “butterfly” flaps its four wings 14 times per second. Almost translucent, it looks like an overgrown moth, but is still smaller than some natural butterflies.
This is bio-mimicry, when technology imitates nature. And this has proved to hide a trap. When the device was tested at a height of 50-meters, birds and flies tended to fall behind the device arranging into a flock.  >>>MORE

Iron Dome Support Act: US may spend $680 million on Israeli missile shield

The US could fork out $680 million on strengthening the Israeli Iron Dome rocket shield. To help Israelis defend themselves, the Republicans are seeking to stretch an already enormous US military budget a little bit more.
The plan to push for funding for Israel’s Iron Dome was disclosed by two congressional staff members, Reuters reports. The Obama administration earlier announced that an “appropriate” level of funding will be provided for this program, but did not request any specific sum for 2012, and thus Congress has not appropriated funds for it.
Top Republicans criticized Obama for his lack of support for this “vital defense cooperation program,” as it was called by Howard McKeon (R-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).
The Iron Dome is Israel’s most modern and efficient short-range anti-rocket interception system.
The Iron Dome bill was put together by House of Representatives Republicans led by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., and Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon, R-Calif.
They and other Republicans, diehard supporters or Israel, have rounded on the administration for seeking to cut back military aid to the Jewish state amid major cuts in U.S. defense spending.
They told Obama in a Feb. 14 letter: “We are deeply concerned that at a time of rising threats to our strongest ally in the Middle East, the administration is requesting record-low support for this vital defensecooperation program.”  more

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